What is the Latest and Greatest Coil Tester?

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2016: What is the Latest and Greatest Coil Tester?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chris Laughary on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 06:25 pm:

So far I have not met any Model T owners nearby. It would be nice to find a chapter and pool our funds for a tester, but in the meantime I'm considering getting one for myself, but it has to be simple and portable so I can share it with others.
Your thoughts will be appreciated.

Ron Patterson has not yet responded so I went ahead and ordered 2 reconditioned coils, some points, and capacitors from Lang's to get this project rolling.

After searching the MTFCA archives I've narrowed the search down to the ECCT or Strobo Spark. A Hand Cranked unit (HCCT to you experts) seems very cumbersome and limited to low-RPM testing. An Oscilloscope also seems beyond my reach and understanding.

#1: ECCT
Pros: Portable, Test In-Car, and might do everything when PC & software are added?
Cons: Delicate, Incomplete, CO$T, Requires PC
Unknown: Reliability? Accuracy?

http://shop.modeltetimer.com/Electronically-Cranked-Coil-Tester-ECCT-ECCT.htm
-------------------------

#2: Strobo Spark
Pros: All-in-One, simple and seems to do everything?
Cons: Dim display is hard to see, Delicate?
Unknown: CO$T, Reliability?

http://www.funprojects.com/products/ct-1.aspx


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary Tillstrom 30 miles N of Memphis TN on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 06:40 pm:

There are a bunch of folks in the Tennessee T's that would likely set them for you. This is a once a year item and to be honest, most years they require no tweeking. If you bought a set a rebuilt coils, they will in all likelihood run 5000 miles or more without touching them.

Coils get the bad rap of always needing adjusting because there are plenty of folks in the hobby that are always fooling with them. Mine were spot on when I rebuilt them a few years back and I checked them this fall and they are still spot on.

The RPM thing with the HCCT is misleading. That unit replicates the worst possible situation to run a T. If it sparks 16 times around and is giving only single sparks, you'll run smoothly.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chris Laughary on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 06:43 pm:

Thanks Gary,

I will send you a PM and would love to attend a TN T meeting soon.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chad Marchees _____Tax Capital, NY on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 06:46 pm:

Chris, there is a very large tour (300 cars) in western NY that ALOT of members are on, Ron Patterson included. In case you have not noticed things are moving a little slower than usual on the forum this week.

I have neither experience of those two but am considering one of them myself. I like the merits of both and cost is similar, although the bells and whistles of the ECCT push it higher. I feel both are a quality product so IMO, it comes down to how technical you want to get.

I can say I have a set of coils that were tuned on a strobospark and they run really good.

And as also mentioned in a previous thread you had, the reconditioned coils sold might not be adjusted properly out of the box. Did you call Lang's and ask them if they were? Of course, again, while someone should be at the store, I know they too are on the MTFCI tour.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chris Laughary on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 07:08 pm:

Thanks Chad,

I ordered 2 coils from Lang's today online. I will call them tomorrow.

FunProjects' website also has 2 on backorder for me that are promised to be tuned on a Strobospark, and at a lower cost but I guess I also need to call them and ask about the wait.

Today's model T drive became frustrating because my coils misfired. I'm anxious to meet some other Model T owners, learn from them, and hear their engines run for comparison. Until I understand every sound I am apt to chase some gremlins that don't really exist.

(Message edited by laughac on July 20, 2016)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By JohnH on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 07:30 pm:

I have used two models of the ECCT, and done things to them that most users wouldn't. Thus, I do not see the ECCT as delicate.
They are also not incomplete in terms of doing coil adjustments - the PC is not required. The PC option is simply that, for those who want a detailed result of coil operation, but is not actually required to set and test the coils.
I have verified the accuracy with other electronic instruments, so there's no doubt about that either.
Ulimately, the ECCT allows the coils to be all set for identical firing times, which is why I prefer its method of testing.
BTW, it also has a magneto tester.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Garrison - Rice Minnesota on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 07:31 pm:

I think the ECCT is probably the latest and greatest. I've heard good and bad reviews but the bad reviews came from someone who doesn't own one.

That being said, I bought a strobospark shortly before the ECCT came out. The Strobospark does everything I need and feel it was money well spent. It's very easy to use and works best in low light conditions. And the price was right.

For the helluvit I tore a recently rebuilt coil apart. In the process I changed the gaps and mechanical settings then re-assembled it. I tweaked it here and there. Pried in it in a few places. Tapped it with the little brass hammer. Tightened up everything that holds everything together and got it all reset-up to the specs using the Strobospark. I had to make some adjustments to get it to stop double sparking and it's working just fine.

For my money the Strobospark works real good.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chris Laughary on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 07:34 pm:

Thanks John and Michael,

Does the ECCT check for double-spark without a PC? I was guessing that would require a display, such as with a PC screen.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ted Dumas on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 08:05 pm:

I find that a screwdriver gives a good quick test.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jon Crane on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 08:09 pm:

Don't by two coils. Replace all four .

Coil Doctor (Bent Mize) does a nice rebuild and always has them ready for shipment


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Garrison - Rice Minnesota on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 08:16 pm:

Chris, your question regarding the ECCT will best be answered by someone who uses one. I somehow got it in my head that it doesn't matter if the coils double spark as long as they're setup properly. But for now I gotta tell you I dont know, check with the person who uses one. But I do recall the ECCT is capable of "matching" the coils to each other and make them fire at their optimum capability (my words, possibly BS :-) ).


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chris Laughary on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 08:35 pm:

Ha
Thx

I will begin to search for Bent Mize.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erich Bruckner, Vancouver, WA on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 08:41 pm:

I have a hand crank tester and a strobo-spark. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the strobo-spark. Really lets me fine tune the points set up and assess the capacitor leakage, strength, etc. on old and rebuilt coils. Very easy to read display and very high quality machine.

All I use the hand crank for is testing vintage spark plugs after I rebuild them.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 08:44 pm:

Anyone who believes that it does not matter when coils double spark is sadly misinformed. A double sparking coil reduces coil output by half and produces a spark event that is timed improperly. From my experience the Strobospark or a hand cranked coil tester provide the only means of detecting a double sparking coil.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 08:52 pm:

So far I haven't bought a tester because the cost of any is more than I'm willing to pay for something I would use so little. I'd rather send coils to Ron. The ones he's done for me came back like new and so far have also worked like new.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 08:57 pm:

I've used a borrowed ECCT, and yes,it does detect double sparking. Its Achilles heel in my book is the requirement to plague oneself with Windows to use the computer readout. BTDT, not going down that road again.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Garrison - Rice Minnesota on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 09:01 pm:

Thanks Royce. I seem to recall reading or hearing the ECCT doesn't check for double spark and that it doesn't matter. I'm thinking I've seen a debate on the forum regarding pros and cons. I'll do some searching and see what I can find. In the meantime I'd be interested to hear current opinions. At any rate I'm sticking with my Strobospark but will keep an open mind. Again, thanks.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gene Carrothers Huntington Beach on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 09:02 pm:

Chris, Here's my take... Getting your coils set to perform the best they can run is sort of an art and takes a bit of practice.

The HCCT will work ok but it is very heavy, expensive and not readily available. I can't say anything about the Strobospark since I have only read about them and have club members with them.

The ultimate is the new ECCT that Mike Kossor has developed. He has written some very good instructions detailing how to test and adjust coils. It works with a laptop or by itself alone and can also test your mag.

My advice to you is to have your coils adjusted by one of the professionals and carry an extra just in case of a failure. There are many guys that adjust coils and probably some better than others. Adjusting coils isn't something that normally needs much attention like your timer.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Garrison - Rice Minnesota on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 09:03 pm:

Steve, help! BTDT.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Garrison - Rice Minnesota on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 09:05 pm:

Oops, BTDT???


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Carter - South Jersey on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 09:06 pm:

We have all three of the testers. All of them will let you setup your coils and have your car running nicely. I have found it difficult to tell the difference in the seat-of-your-pants perception between sets of coils setup properly using the different testers.

I do think that the ECCT makes it easier to get the best results and also gives the most information about the coil firing which I find very interesting. The Strobospark is very nice and will cost a lot less than the other two. But if I only could keep one I'd keep the HCCT because I like using original tools (on original parts) and it works well.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kirk Peterson on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 09:32 pm:

What Gene said:

"My advice to you is to have your coils adjusted by one of the professionals and carry an extra just in case of a failure. There are many guys that adjust coils"


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chris Laughary on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 09:42 pm:

Yep, Windoze is no longer in my house either.

Been There; Done That!
BTDT


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Hagerty on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 09:44 pm:

Michael, Don't think your'e the only one!
I had to look that one up.

Been
There
Done
That

These darn youngsters and their computer slang!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Garrison - Rice Minnesota on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 10:08 pm:

David, I know. I'm not impressed that I'm only 66 years old and can no longer understand plain (?) English. And what really hurts is that Steve seems to have little or no problem with it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Hagerty on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 10:20 pm:

Michael, Yea, sure, go ahead and encourage Steve!
He was already sitting there with that wry grin!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Garrison - Rice Minnesota on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 10:28 pm:

:-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 10:35 pm:


We don' need any steenking HP laptop.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Eric Hylen- Central Minnesota on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 10:47 pm:

Here's my two cents: you can't beat the cool factor of an original HCCT. That's why I own four of them. If I get around to wanting a new-fangled electronic device, I'll buy a Strobospark. John Regan, the owner of Fun Projects, is a stand up guy and I have full confidence in his product support.

The ECCT uses a different theory for setting the coil points than they were designed for. It seems to work pretty well, but its designer has created a lot of controversy here on the forum, trying to bully us into accepting that his method of coil adjustment is far superior to the tried and proven method developed by Ford an KW. The ECCT discussion has definitely been a polarizing issue.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By JohnH on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 10:57 pm:

Chris, the ECCT does detect double sparking on its own - no need for the PC.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Garrison - Rice Minnesota on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 10:57 pm:

Oh oh, I can see another thread with a limited future. "I don't need to tell you bout no stinkin' coil tester! Treasure of the Sierra Capacitor!" 1967


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Kossor - Kenilworth, NJ on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 10:57 pm:

The ECCT absolutely does detect and display double sparking coil points; stand along by itself as illustrated on page 13 of the instruction manual:

ECCT Double Spark Detection Display

Or using the optional software as illustrated on page 27 of the manual:

ECCT Software Double Spark Display

The optional software is not necessary for the ECCT to test/adjust coil points or magneto, however, does make adjusting coil points much easier and provides more control and information. The software can run on a MAC but requires a Windows emulator to be installed first; sorry Steve :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Kossor - Kenilworth, NJ on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 11:53 pm:

Eric, I respectfully take exception to your offensive comment that I created a lot of controversy here by bullying participants into accepting my method of coil adjustment is far superior than the time proven HCCT method which you prefer.

FYI, adjusting coil points for equal firing time by measuring their dwell time to fire is Not "my method". Montana 500 race winners and others with Electrical Engineering backgrounds were using that method well before me using specialized equipment and technical knowledge. My contribution to the Model T hobby was to make this technically complicated test method available to any Model T enthusiast without specialized training or complicated test equipment.

In my view, the ECCT discussion has been a polarizing issue created by you and a few others who interpret my technical discussions or merits of coil test methods other than the HCCT as an assault on its effectiveness, historic significance and damning condemnation of anyone who prefers to use it. I challenge you to find a single instance where I denigrated the HCCT or criticized anyone for choosing to use the HCCT or any other method to adjust Model T coils.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David L Corman on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 11:57 pm:

What is the preferred equipment of the Montana 500 guys? I was told they use the time to fire method.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By JohnH on Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 12:30 am:

Time to fire can be determined by measuring the coil primary current vs. time as displayed on an oscilloscope.


current
The firing point is when the current has finished ramping up to its highest point and the points open. For my car, all four coils are set to fire at 3.5 milliseconds after the timer contact closes, when powered from 6V DC. Multiple sparking is also revealed by this method.
I should perhaps point out that I was using this method before I knew much about the ECCT. The ECCT works on the same principles, but one important difference is there's no need for an oscilloscope, and anyone can interpret the readings without having an electrical background.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 12:26 pm:

Damn, I wish I felt up to doing a bunch of searches in the archive. But I don't and it ain't worth it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 12:45 pm:

This might not be the "best" coil tester, but it works for me. I use a buzz box connected to the magneto. I run the engine on battery and adjust the coil to draw 1.3 amps with a steady spark.

Then I insert the coil into the coil box of my T and take it for a drive. If it runs smoothly, I consider it to be a good coil.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 01:28 pm:

A couple months ago we compared coils rebuilt and set using the plastic ECCT with coils set by the following:

Ron Patterson
John Regan
Brent Mize
Calgary Model T Club
Dennis Sanford
Royce Peterson (me)

All of the coils rebuilt and set by the individuals and groups above - and set on either an HCCT or a Strobe - O - Spark - produced acceptable coils that did not double spark and run well in a car on MAG.

So far as any of us could tell the plastic ECCT has no way to detect a double sparking coil. We tried several coils that had double sparking when tested on a Strobe O Spark and a HCCT with no indication of that on the Kossor device. In our test 50% of the coils rebuilt and set in an ECCT were double sparking with no indication of any defect from that little green plastic device or the laptop computer that it was plugged into.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chris Laughary on Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 01:57 pm:

Thank You

Ron Patterson, the Coilman, just called me and 4 coils are being sent here next week.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 02:21 pm:

LOL, all of these coil threads end up reading the same after a half dozen posts or so. :-O


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Kossor - Kenilworth, NJ on Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 02:51 pm:

Royce, your disdain for my contributions to the Model T hobby is well known to regular readers of this forum. Your opinion of the ECCT was formed before you conducted any testing with it; just like you did with the E-Timer. You forgot to mention the ECCT adjusted coils you tested were done by a novice ECCT user who admitted were a poor example of the device's capability. They didn't even read the instructions sufficiently to know the device is capable of detecting and displaying double sparking. Yet to prove your biased views of the ECCT correct, you choose to ignore that minor little detail of competency and proceeded to conduct a grossly skewed coil performance comparison with coils adjusted by some of the most prominent and experienced coil experts in with decades of experience. Your disregard for fairness and rush to expose the "truth about coil testing" speaks volumes about your character and values.

The fact is, measuring coil firing time and adjusting all 4 coils for equal firing time is a well established method of coil point adjustment with proven results. It is the preferred method of coil point adjustment in performance competition events like the Montana 500.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Lloid on Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 03:18 pm:

A guy on ebay has a tester for coils for about $100. Cant tell you how they work. Tim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Karlsson, southern Sweden on Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 03:56 pm:

Tim, if it's this one: http://m.ebay.com/itm/Model-T-Ford-Ignition-Coil-Tester-1-3-Amp-Reading-Test-Coi ls-Spark-Plugs-/272314549261

then it's just a "buzz box" that may be of use to check if a certain coil works at all, but worse than all the alternatives discussed above when adjusting coils for best performance. Easy to make one yourself, not worth $105 in my humble opinion.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 04:05 pm:

Mike,

I am only stating fact - your device was unable to detect coils that were multi sparking. It failed to detect multi sparking coils built by several folks, not just the guy who borrowed your box. Some were original Ford coils that needed rebuilding, others were freshly rebuilt yet not adjusted. We had no indications of multi sparking coils from your device in any case. None.

This is not a matter of my personal opinion.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George John Drobnock on Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 04:20 pm:

Testing a coil I use this - And this information


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chris Laughary on Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 04:34 pm:

By George, I LIKE it!


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